Casey and Mbick on sensational scoring seasons

Patrick Casey and Micah Mbick

Academy strikers Patrick Casey and Micah Mbick have reflected on their journeys so far as they approach the end of a remarkable season in which the duo have scored 87 goals between them.

The pair will be aiming to add to their tally on Saturday when Jason Pearce's U18s take on Birmingham City in the Professional Development League 2 national play-off final.

“Coming into full-time football is a big change,” explained Mbick. “But I feel like over time I’ve grown a lot being with the team.”

The crowning moment of Mbick’s season came in November, when he marked his first-team debut with a goal just three minutes after coming off the bench against Cray Valley PM in the Emirates FA Cup.

“The club is known for using their academy in the first-team, and it’s good that I took that opportunity,” he said. “It’s a good memory.”

It was a fantastic achievement for a player who has played the majority of his football in the U18s this season. Casey, on the other hand, has made the leap to U21s level, a move which was initially a bit of a shock.

“I think it’s been more of a challenge for me being with the U21s this season, but I think I’ve grown into it,” said Casey. “I’m learning more as a player every day.

“There’s more to live up to, so obviously I have to live up to the standard of trying to score every week and do my best to try and help the team.”

It's a standard that he has well and truly lived up to, with the Irishman currently sitting on 44 goals for the campaign.

Regardless of this weekend's result, both youngsters have had excellent seasons and both wanted to thank those who have helped them get this far.

“A lot of coaches have believed in me through the years,” said Mbick. “I suffered a big injury. Not many people know about that but I feel like that took a lot of mental strength to get through.

“Steve Avory has really believed in me, Chris Lock has been with me since U13s and he’s always helping me.”

Casey echoed the sentiment: “As Micah said, Chris Lock, Jason Pearce, Steve Avory... there’s so many more to mention. I just want to thank them as well for the work that we do on the field.”

Unfortunately for opposition defences, the pair have played together at times this season, and their appreciation for each other’s game is clear.

“I think Micah's clever off the ball. I like his movement,” said Casey. “I know where he is all the time, and I like having that bond.”

Mbick returned the compliment: “He’s a natural finisher with both feet. People don’t see his creative side as well. Although we both want to get goals, sometimes he can be really unselfish and see passes.”

The duo are already excited for what next season might bring. “My goal is to try and retain what I’ve been doing this season in the U21s and try and get as many goals as I can,” explained Casey. “Just keep learning psychologically and tactically about the game and just keep building.”

Mbick is keen to make the same step up that Casey made this season: “I just want to grow my personal game, get used to men’s football, go up to the U21s and hopefully see where that takes me.”

Neither player could have done more to stake a claim for further progress next season, and there are certainly a lot of candidates for their personal goal of the season.

“What about my goal against Ipswich when I lobbed the ball over the keeper?” said Casey.

“Well, I like my free-kick [against Peterborough] as well,” replied Mbick.

The pair have a healthy amount of friendly competition, but they could both agree on Mbick’s closing statement.

“There's too many to choose from I think!”

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Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

(Transcription by Jessica Lee)

Read Time: 4 mins